Many people talk about reverence in a church's sanctuary, and most of us have an opinion about what it should look like. What should reverence look like? I am increasingly convinced that in all truthfulness reverence is far more humble and holy than I would have expected from myself or others. But God is a holy, perfect God. These thoughts carried over into my whole religious experience within a matter of hours. I felt that I could not approach God because I am not reverent enough, and my idea of reverence, and holy, is rather irreverent, and unholy. And then I read this passage tonight:
"A certain man from [the Gadarenes] [met Jesus] who had demons for along time....When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, 'What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!...' For [the unclean spirit] had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness....Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind....Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him."
When I think back to my past, like this demoniac I was often irreverent in prayer and action. I am often still unholy in my thoughts toward God, careless and indifferent more than I ought to be. But God still loves me just as Jesus still loved this demon-controlled man.
God's love toward us in our irreverence, and complete unholiness, is so, so very good, that we are compelled to come to Him in true reverence. The love of God for us in our worst is what brings us to our best. Our thanksgiving in His love is the beginning true reverence. For the record, I am thankful that God is love.